The Marantz VP-11S1 Saint John NB
Saint John, NB
The Marantz VP-11S1
December 1, 2006 By David Birch-Jones
This year’s buzzword in video is actually a number followed by a letter: 1080p. It refers to displays that can display 1,080 horizontal lines progressively, one right after the other—a feat necessary for depicting today’s highest-resolution video images in full fidelity. The Marantz VP-11S1 is not the first 1080p front projector Home Entertainment has tested; we’ve already reviewed 1080p LCoS models. But the Marantz is the first out of the gate to employ Texas Instruments’ new 1080p DLP chip, which packs over 2 million tiny tiltable mirrors onto a sliver of silicon.
The VP-11S1 presents a mostly square but gently curvaceous chassis that combines gray styling accents that call attention to the Konica Minolta optics up front. The input panel is generously equipped with a pair of component video inputs and another pair of HDMI digital video inputs, in addition to various other ports. Your installer will appreciate the input panel’s gentle backlighting, which can be turned off. Marantz also offers a version with upgraded optics that allows the projector to be positioned farther back in the room.
The setup menu presents myriad picture adjustments and memory options. Your installer can even assign any of several gamma curve choices and color temperatures to each input—a rare feature indeed. In addition, the setup procedure includes a built-in crosshatch test pattern generator that allows fine-tuning of the vertical lens shift, or offset, with the pattern changing color from white to green to tell your installer when the recommended maximum offset has been exceeded. Excessive offset can result in blurring of fine detail, but even with the offset at its limit, the test pattern was still quite sharp at the picture extremities, a testament to the quality of the optical path. The wide offset range allows your installer to mount the projector closer to the ceiling, roughly in line with the top of the screen.
My color analyzer mostly verified Marantz’s color-temperature specifications. Even the highest temperature choice the projector provides was far below the exaggerated bluish that seems to be the norm. We made our measurements with one of the middle settings, which came within a whisker of the 6,500-degree Kelvin ideal color-temperature choice. More importantly, the color varied hardly at all from the brightest white all the way down to the darkest grays, a superlative result. This ensures that the white balance remains stable regardless of variations in scene brightness.
Another important measurement evaluates the accuracy of the primary (red, green, and blue) and secondary (cyan, yellow, and magenta) colors. Here I found virtual perfection, with both the primaries as well as the secondaries matching the DTV specification—the best performance we’ve seen on this test. Even most displays that get the primary colors right flub the secondaries, pollutin...